Showing posts with label Accordion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Accordion. Show all posts

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Rediscovering The Wonders Of Accordions


The inside part of the keyboard of an accordio...
The inside part of the keyboard of an accordion, showing the keyboard and machinery. 

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


There seem to be fewer and fewer bands which include accordion in the list of instruments they play. Typical modern bands use drums, electric guitar, bass guitar, and keyboards but accordions? No. It is no wonder Generations X and Y generally regards accordion as a thing of the past. Although there are still one or two modern bands which proudly incorporate accordions in their music, it would still take a lot of convincing before several people buy the idea of listening to accordion-accompanied music on a regular basis. But those who are interested to discover the wonders of the accordion can listen to bands like Those Darn Accordions (TDA), a rock-and-roll band with an exciting twist. In their website, TDA members Susan Garramone and Susie Davis assure listeners that the band would try its best to revolutionize people's view of the said instrument.

English: Piano accordion; Weltmeister, 48 bass...
Piano accordion; Weltmeister, 48 bass, 3 reed-rows (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Wait, what exactly are people's understanding of the squeezeboxes (another term for accordion) that needs to be rearranged in the first place? Well, for one, accordions are bulky and lack the sleek sophistication of modern instruments. Squeezeboxes look like a much more complicated, 'pleated' version of keyboards. Though dating back to the eighteenth century, squeezeboxes have newer models which are more refined in appearance but somehow, the accordion is still seemingly outdated in today's band standards. As a matter of fact, squeezeboxes are often the subject of ridicule in cartoons and sitcoms. On the brighter side, though, squeezeboxes are the choice instrument of famous musicians John Linnell, Boozoo Chavis and Beau Jocques.

Music-wise, the sound produced by accordions is incomparable. To be specific, music is derived when the 'pleats' of the squeezeboxes are alternately compressed and expanded. Button accordion, an older version of keyboard-like squeezebox, have buttons that a musician press to create distinct and pleasant melody, especially when appropriately accompanied by other instruments such as guitar and drums. For instance, four members of TDA play accordions while the other two play drums and bass guitar. The result? Well, let's just say that people love it. Long before TDA, the Ulster-Scots have already discovered the wonders of squeezeboxes, whether played alone or as an accompaniment to flute or harp. Accordion, indeed, has a niche in the rich musical culture of the Scots. But Scots or no Scots, many can appreciate squeezeboxes only if they give these underrated instruments a much-deserved chance. The younger generation, adventurous as they are, should make it a point to listen to modern accordion-playing bands to enrich their musical senses and add variety to their playlists.



Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Button ACCORDION - Music-Instruments of the World

Button Accordion - Music-Instruments of the World



Monday, October 2, 2017

ACCORDIONS Are Enjoying a Resurgence in Popularity

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Photo  by Costic─â Acsinte Archive
Although the mainstream music world has often relegated accordions to second-class status, squeezeboxes are once again coming into their own. Making appearances in productions ranging from those of Cirque du Soleil to albums from top name rock stars, the accordion's unique sound is getting some well-deserved attention.

Although most people can conjure up a mental picture of an accordion, many do not realize that there are several different kinds of accordions, developed over the years for specific musical genres. As free reed instruments, the opening and closing of an accordion's bellows (or Squeezebox) cause the air to flow over the reeds, which makes the sound. An accordion also has buttons, or both buttons and a keyboard. These serve to direct the airflow to certain reeds and not others, thereby controlling the tones played. 

Some accordions have one row of buttons; some have two rows of buttons, and still, others have three rows. Accordions with one row of buttons include the Hohner Concertina and the Hohner Ariette. The latter is often used for playing Cajun, Quebecois, Zydeco, and Irish folk music. These buttons typically play the diatonic scale, with each button able to play two notes: one when the bellows is squeezed in and another when it is spread apart. An accordion with one row of buttons is often tuned for the type of music being played. For example, certain reeds may be filled in order to produce the sounds typically associated with Cajun music. The Hohner Ariette, for instance, has ten treble buttons, two bass buttons, four sets of treble reeds, and three sets of bass reeds. 

A two-row button accordion typically has 21 treble buttons, eight bass/chord buttons, and two sets of treble reeds. Such an accordion is available in key combinations like GC, AD, CF, and DG. A three-row button accordion, such as the Hohner Corona, has 31 treble buttons and two sets of treble reeds. The third row of keys means that the key combinations differ from those of a two-button accordion, and might be, for example, GCF, FBbEb, EAD, and ADG. 

A piano accordion is a fully chromatic instrument with a varying number of piano keys, depending on the size of the instrument. From the gold standard Gola piano accordion to the Hohnica piano accordion for the budget minded, there truly is a piano accordion for everyone.


One of the most beautiful aspects of accordions is that they can't be completely mass-produced and assembled. Like other fine musical instruments, the handmade components (in the case of accordions, most notably the reeds) are what give the instrument its unique sound. 

There's no doubt that the accordion has traveled far from its stereotypical uses as an instrument for polkas. From Cajun and Zydeco to Klezmer and Classical music, from Lawrence Welk to Sheryl Crow, accordions are here to stay.